A special CBI court on Monday framed charges against the former Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chairman, Suresh Kalmadi, secretary-general Lalit Bhanot and eight others for alleged irregularities in awarding of the CWG Timing, Scoring and Results System contract to a Swiss company by causing a loss to the government exchequer.
The charges against them include criminal conspiracy to commit cheating, forgery, destruction of evidence under the Indian Penal Code and criminal misconduct under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The CBI had filed its charge sheet in the case on May 24, 2011, in which it pegged the “wrongful loss” to the government at Rs. 95.61 crore.
The charge sheet had made several references to forgeries and abuse of official position by not following due procedures and attempts at eliminating all competition as a result of the conspiracy. This allegedly resulted in the contract going to Swiss Timing that cost the government a total outgo of Rs.157.62 crore, despite a bid from MSL Spain which would have cost the Organising Committee only Rs. 62.01 crore.
Special CBI Judge Ravinder Kaur fixed February 20 for commencement of trial after all the accused pleaded “not guilty” to the charges. The Judge asked the CBI to submit on February 7 the list of prosecution witnesses who are to be called for recording their statements when trial begins.
In its order on the charges, the court said prima facie a case of criminal misconduct under the Prevention of Corruption Act was made out against six public servants — Mr. Kalmadi, Mr. Bhanot, V.K. Verma, A.S.V. Prasad, Surjit Lal and M. Jeyachandran — all of whom occupied top positions in the CWG Organising Committee.